Affordable White Wine for a Party

14 recommendations for a great lineup


With holiday party season in full swing, we're all searching for wines that offer some complexity and interest without breaking the bank or asking too much of guests. Some wines, even inexpensive wines at that, can be quite profound in the way they reveal their terroir or express a grape's character. In order for these wines to be appreciated for those traits, the drinker has to be aware of them!

We kid ourselves when we think that everyone cares about wine the way we do. The truth is, wine is most looked upon as a fun beverage that can be delicious. How many times have your dining companions' eyes glazed over when you started talking about the clones used for some great wines and the way that expresses the ancient alluvial soils so clearly?

We get it, you'e a wine master, that's great. Really it is, but no one cares, at least no one at this party. Find something that's tasty and let's cut class short. These are what I'm exploring today. Nothing fancy, just affordable whites from Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Want to know if I found anything worth recommending? Read on my friends, read on!

Photo courtesy theuptownlife via Flickr/CC

The Life of the Party

2010 Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna Italy 13.5% $12

Wow, this is intensely perfumed and sweet smelling. Lots of honeysuckle over notes of passion fruit and grapefruit, with hints of sage and lemon verbena. A little sweet on the palate, with rich fruit that lacks the tropical notes of the nose. Maybe there's a little papaya running through this, but it's mostly peachy, sweet pear toned with a nice lemony edge. This is a little thick and heavy on the palate, though it does finish nice and dry, if a bit on the short side, with herbal tones and a hint of honey. 86pts

Buy this wine at Sherry-Lehmann!

Marques de Alella 09 2009 Spain 12% $12

I bet you can't drink just one!

Quartzy and citrussy on the nose, with hints of white pepper, tarragon and flowers adding nice complexity. This is bright and juicy in the mouth, bursting with sweet yellow cherry, pear and vaguely yellow tomatoey fruit that has a little bit of a spicy edge and some earthy, root vegetable undertone. This is fairly rich, yet remains wonderfully fresh with a nice spice element that runs through the long, almost salty finish.  Freaking delicisioso!  89pts

Find out more!

Book Club!

2009 Monte Velho Alentejo Portugal 13.5% $10
35% Roupeiro, 35% Antao Vaz, 30% Perrum

An interesting nose that lacks a little intensity, though it does bring together notes of mango, melon, thyme and peach in an interesting way. Nicely focused on entry, this is a bit lightweight but with lovely balance. The fruit is fresh on the palate and offers the sweetness of mature fruit, but retains excellent cut. Mostly in the apple end of the spectrum, there are some flourishes of sweet herbs, pineapple and a touch of vanilla here that yield to a bit of a mineral note on the modest finish. There's some savory length that re-appears here. Rather elegant and really well textured, if lacking a bit of intensity, this feels more expensive than it is. 88pts

Drinks almost like a hipster wine!

2010 Palos Verdejo La Tierra de Castillo Spain 13% $10

Intense on the nose with soil tones, herbs, heirloom apple notes and assertive lemongrass and white pepper top notes. Bright and crisp, this has fine focus and is really nicely proportioned in the mouth. The fruit is fresh and bright yet shows some restraint, picking up lime and tart apple notes on the mid-palate over a lightly peachy base. There's an earthy note that underpins the whole thing and pops, along with apple fruit tones on the moderately long finish. Easy drinking, nicely textured and fairly complex, this is really lovely 88pts

And it comes in a fancy bottle

2010 Tasca D'Almerita Regaleali Bianco Sicily Italy 12% $12

Rather perfumed on the nose with layers of floral, wild berry, apple and fresh peaches. Velvety in the mouth, this is quite seamless and offers a lovely elegance on the palate with its combination of creaminess and crisp fruit flavors braced by gently steely mineral notes. There's a lot of pear fruit emerging on the back end here, and the finish is tight, a bit saline and quite long if not particularly fruit driven. Great seafood wine. 88pts

Buy this wine at Sherry-Lehmann!

Great with food

2009 Vitiano Verdicchio/Vermentino Umbria Italy 13% $10

Perfumed and fruity on the nose, with some salty/smoky mineral notes over fruity greengage plum and pear tones. Soft and fairly round, though cut with bright acids and a very fine mineral tone. This is really quite mineral. While the core of fruit never loses its focus, the refreshing mineral vein drives the wine through the moderately long, Meyer lemon flavored finish that ends with a little flint on the finale. 87pts

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